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Kootenay clips Hawks in OT again for 3-1 series lead

Ice win 5-4 on Fraser's goal

The Portland Winterhawks will have to win three straight games to capture the Western Hockey League championship.

The Hawks fell behind 3 games to 1 in the WHL finals on Wednesday, losing in overtime at Kootenay for the second night in a row.

With 6:52 left in the OT, Matt Fraser scored on a power play, off a turnover near the net, as Kootenay prevailed 5-4.

The Ice nearly got the winner minutes before that, after Portland's Ty Rattie was sent to the penalty box for delay of game, lifting the puck into the crowd while in the Winterhawk defensive end.

The Hawks managed to kill the penalty, with goalie Mac Carruth standing tall over and over.

But then Portland's Sven Bartschi was called for roughing, putting the defense on its heels again and unable to stop the Ice attack.

Jesse Ismond and Cody Eakin scored two goals apiece for Kootenay, and the Ice defense continued to be mostly stellar as the home team pulled out the victory.

Rattie's goal with 17 seconds left in regulation (with Carruth pulled off the ice) earned the Winterhawks a 4-4 tie and a shot at the Ice in overtime.

The Ice took control early in Game 4, Ismond scoring after just 19 seconds and Kootenay taking a 2-0 lead at 7:46 of the first period on Eakin's first strike.

Portland never led.

It was the first back-to-back defeats for the Hawks since Jan. 12 and 14.

Game 5 is 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Rose Garden. Game 6 would be at 5 p.m. Sunday, back at the Cranbrook Recreation Center, and Game 7 would take place at the Rose Garden at 7 p.m. Monday.

After one period of Game 4, the Winterhawks had a 10-8 edge in shots.

Portland cut the deficit to 2-1 on Ryan Johansen's score at 1:41 of the second period. Nino Niederreiter and Riley Boychuk notched assists. It was Johansen's 12th goal of the playoffs.

Shortly after the Hawks killed the first penalty of the game midway through the second period, Troy Rutkowski struck on a long shot from the neutral zone. His blast nicked a defenseman's stick and got past Ice goalie Nathan Lieuwen's glove at 14:19, tying the game at 2-2.

But Kootenay reclaimed the lead with 1:49 left in the frame on Ismond's 4-on-4 score behind the Winterhawk defense.

Through two periods, shots favored Portland 21-19 - but Kootenay went to intermission knowing it was 11-0 in the postseason when leading with 20 minutes to go.

The Ice killed a penalty early in the third period and then got a big, two-goal cushion with another 4-for-4 goal. This time, it was Eakin with a short wrist shot from the right of Portland goalie Mac Carruth. That gave the Ice a 4-2 lead with 7:30 remaining.

Almost immediately, Kootenay got penalized for interference on Carruth, but with 31 seconds left on the man advantage, Rattie was whistled for high sticking.

Just as Rattie's penalty expired, Johansen lifted a shot into the top left corner of the net. With that, Portland was within 4-3 of the Ice with 3:35 remaining.

And then Rattie scored during the Hawks' final flurry to set up the third overtime showdown in the series.

Three of the games have been decided by one goal, and the other meeting went to Kootenay by two goals when the Ice scored in an empty net in the closing seconds.

Shots in Game 4 were 31-27 in Portland's favor going into the OT.